State's Credit Card Becomes Latest Political Issue

Republicans called for a temporary moratorium on state bond projects on Tuesday after the Bond Commission approved another round of projects worth tens of millions of dollars.

Sen. Scott Frantz, R-Greenwich, who sits on the committee and voted to approve funds for projects ranging from local road improvements to economic incentives, said approving such items sends a bad message to taxpayers.

“I think general people, general voters, think that’s ridiculous and at the same time they’re making all of these cuts to social service programs and I know at least a dozen people who have kids or relatives and are being shut out of the system, getting no assistance from the state because of the cutbacks,” he said.

The bond commission handles financing for all school construction projects, state transportation projects, and many other local capital projects.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said the investments being made now are making up for missed opportunities by previous administrations.

“We’ve made wise investments time after time after time in a state that failed to make the proper level of investment over a long period of time," he said.

Some of the projects in this round sent funds to the XL Center in Hartford for upgrades and $30 million for local roads in cities and towns across the state.

Don Shubert, of the Connecticut Construction Industry Association, released a statement in response to Sen. Frantz's comments on Tuesday. He said he would have worries that economic and infrastructure growth would come to a halt if the state stopped borrowing for investments.

"One of the most positive initiatives that Connecticut has going for it is embarking on a five-year ramp-up to a much needed transportation program. An interruption to the state bonding program would effectively stall those efforts," Shubert said.

Frantz said that since the state has had to cut more than a billion dollars in spending in the past year, it only makes sense that it cut back on borrowing.

“Whether it’s six months, or nine months, or two years, whatever, we do need to take a break," he said.

Malloy said as long as all lawmakers, especially Republicans, applaud money coming to their home districts for improvements, he will call them out for it.

He said of GOP members' calls for bonding restrictions, “We’re against that which we vote for. We’re for the things that are good for us but we question whether other communities should get their things.”

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